International Women's Day 2021: Women Leading the Way

This International Women’s Day we celebrated the leadership and power women have achieved across the world. This year we have seen more women elected to office – from Kamala Harris being inaugurated as the first woman Vice President of the United States to Christina McAnea being elected the first woman General Secretary of Unison. Barriers are being taken down every day. And we are going to help each other cross them more and more.



Maria Miller MP

Maria was first elected to represent Basingstoke in the 2005 General Election. Before entering Parliament, Maria worked for 20 years in marketing, including board level experience.

On becoming a Member of Parliament, Maria was appointed to the Trade and Industry Select Committee. David Cameron appointed her as Shadow Minister for Education in December 2005, then Shadow Minister for Family Welfare in the Department for Work and Pensions in November 2006. 

Maria moved back to the Education team as Shadow Minister for Family in July 2007 and remained in post until the 2010 General Election. Maria was appointed Minister for Disabled People at the Department for Work and Pensions in the Coalition Government in May 2010 and was promoted to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities, from September 2012 to April 2014.In June 2015 Maria was elected as Chair of the newly established Women and Equalities Select Committee. Maria was nominated for the position by MPs across the House in 2017 and was re-elected unopposed.

In addition to her role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament, Maria is Co-Chair of the APPG UN Women, Chair of Conservative Women in Parliament, and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Digital Regulation and Responsibility. Maria is also a Director and Trustee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Patron of HCUK and serves on the Board of Governors for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

Dame Heather Rabbatts

Dame Heather Rabbatts’ career spans law, government, sport and media. She is currently Chair of specialist sports agency Vero Communications and has recently established the Women’s Sports Group, a new venture designed to create opportunities to promote, enhance and empower women’s sport. Heather also chairs the board of Soho Theatre and until recently was MD of film & TV production company Cove Pictures where she produced The Drifters and The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.

Heather has a number of non-executive roles: Chair of integrated communications agency Four Communications, Chair of talent management company 42, and Non-Executive Director and Chair of REMCO for Keir Group plc. In 2018 Heather became Chair of TIME’S UP UK and in 2019 joined TIME’S UP global board. Born out of the revelations of #MeToo, TIME’S UP advocates to end sexual harassment, change representation and pay parity to achieve long term cultural change.

Heather began her career as a lawyer, then a government advisor and was the youngest CEO of a Local Authority. She was the first woman and person of colour on the board of the English FA in 150 years, served on the boards of the Bank of England and the Royal Opera House and commissioned award-winning content as a senior executive at Channel 4 Television.


Claire Cohen, Women’s Editor and Features, The Telegraph

Claire is an editor and columnist on the Telegraph. She heads up Telegraph Women online, is Associate Features Editor on the newspaper and a regular commentator on TV and radio. She writes a weekly newsletter, The 51 Per Cent.

Dr Hannah Barham Brown, Deputy Leader, The Women’s Equality Party and GP Trainee

A passionate Disability, Gender and LGBTQ+ Campaigner, Hannah became the first visibly disabled Deputy Leader of a national political party in June 2020, having been both a Council and EU Parliamentary Candidate for the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) in 2019. A determined advocate for disability representation in politics, Hannah co-founded the WEP Disability Caucus, and has given multiple talks at the Houses of Parliament on a range of topics.

She is training as a GP in Leeds, with particular interests in Paediatrics, LGBTQ+ Health and Mental Health, whilst also giving talks about disability, diversity and inclusion to organisations across the UK.

Alongside a wide range of regular media appearances, including BBC Breakfast, Hannah has a weekly slot on BBC Radio Leeds, York and Sheffield, discussing disability, health, and the challenges facing our community, particularly in the context of Coronavirus.

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